Right around the time when the people of yisroel were about to leave Egypt (1th of Nisan-Rashi to Bo, but the Rambam may hold it was later as the vision of the moon according to him was in a vision of prophecy, but similar idea) it says that "this month shall be for you the beginning of the months, first it shall be to you, for the months of the year"

So before this, Tishrei was the beginning not only for the year like now, but also the months, the source for that was in a targum yonason somewhere, don't remember exact location, but the verse it was on was speaking about the "earlier ones" (before the giving of the Torah and exodus in general etc) would call the 7th month the beginning etc.

Anyways, why did Hashem choose to change Nisan to be the beginning of the months, specifically during / after the exodus (or right before etc)?

And if it's because of the exodus that happened in Egypt, first of all, why is the exodus connected with the months, as opposed to the year (such that nissan was chosen as the beginning of the months and not the beginning of the year), and why did the redemption happen in nissan specifically, if it's known (can't remember source but I'm pretty certain it's in the Gemara, I think they're rosh hashanah) that on rosh hashanah the slavery ended anyways, so why was the redemption not in Tishrei when the work ended?

  • You are making a distinction between the beginning of the year and the beginning of the months, even though in the Exodus account the two mean the same thing. What do you mean by it? Commented Mar 27, 2021 at 13:09
  • @mockingbird even nowadays tishrei is the beginning of the year, not nissan, the question is why Commented Mar 30, 2021 at 22:43
  • The beginning of the year was always in the Fall for some purposes, we know on the evidence of Josephus. But the festival year begins in the Spring since the Babylonian exile. Commented Apr 5, 2021 at 2:42

3 Answers 3


I think you have it backwards. Passover occurred on the fourteenth day of the first month, Nisan, the first month of the year. However, when the Jews were exiled to Babylon in 586 BCE, they discovered the Babylonian calendar.[1] As a result, they changed it to the seventh month Rosh Hashanah, “New Year.” The talmudic rabbis said that the world was created in Nisan.

[1] Also, the names of the months were renamed after Babylonian months.


Remembering the exodus was an important part of Israelite identity, at least in the northern kingdom. It is mentioned by the prophet Hosea:

When Israel was a child, I loved him and out of Egypt I have called my son.

The Passover is mentioned, in a negative way, by the prophet Amos:

Behold, I am setting a plumb line in the midst of my people Israel; I will never again pass by them.

And in a positive way by the book of Deuteronomy:

Observe the season of ripe grain, and keep passover to the Lord your God, for in the season of ripe grain the Lord your God brought you out of Egypt by night.

חדש normally means "month", but it can mean "season", Jeremiah 2.23-24.

In pre exilic Israel and Judah, the calendar year began in the fall. In the late pre exilic period or the early exilic period, the Israelites adopted the Babylonian calendar, which has a new year in the spring. The author of Exodus 12.2 is using this state of affairs to illustrate the same point made by the book of Deuteronomy: remembering the exodus. The Passover Haggadah makes the same point when it states that every Israelite should view himself as having come out of Egypt.

As for why the exodus happened in the springtime rather than as some other time: why shouldn't it happen in spring, the season of new beginnings?


We find in the [Mishnah][1] that there are multiple New Years in the Jewish calendar, one of which is the first of Nissan.

אַרְבָּעָה רָאשֵׁי שָׁנִים הֵם. בְּאֶחָד בְּנִיסָן רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה לַמְּלָכִים וְלָרְגָלִים. בְּאֶחָד בֶּאֱלוּל רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה לְמַעְשַׂר בְּהֵמָה. רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר וְרַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן אוֹמְרִים, בְּאֶחָד בְּתִשְׁרֵי. בְּאֶחָד בְּתִשְׁרֵי רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה לַשָּׁנִים וְלַשְּׁמִטִּין וְלַיּוֹבְלוֹת, לַנְּטִיעָה וְלַיְרָקוֹת. בְּאֶחָד בִּשְׁבָט, רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה לָאִילָן, כְּדִבְרֵי בֵית שַׁמַּאי. בֵּית הִלֵּל אוֹמְרִים, בַּחֲמִשָּׁה עָשָׂר בּוֹ: T They [sic: should be there] are four days in the year that serve as the New Year, each for a different purpose: On the first of Nisan is the New Year for kings; it is from this date that the years of a king’s rule are counted. And the first of Nisan is also the New Year for the order of the Festivals, as it determines which is considered the first Festival of the year and which the last. On the first of Elul is the New Year for animal tithes; all the animals born prior to that date belong to the previous tithe year and are tithed as a single unit, whereas those born after that date belong to the next tithe year. Rabbi Elazar and Rabbi Shimon say: The New Year for animal tithes is on the first of Tishrei. On the first of Tishrei is the New Year for counting years, as will be explained in the Gemara; for calculating Sabbatical Years and Jubilee Years, i.e., from the first of Tishrei there is a biblical prohibition to work the land during these years; for planting, for determining the years of orla, the three-year period from when a tree has been planted during which time its fruit is forbidden; and for tithing vegetables, as vegetables picked prior to that date cannot be tithed together with vegetables picked after that date. On the first of Shevat is the New Year for the tree; the fruit of a tree that was formed prior to that date belong to the previous tithe year and cannot be tithed together with fruit that was formed after that date; this ruling is in accordance with the statement of Beit Shammai. But Beit Hillel say: The New Year for trees is on the fifteenth of Shevat.

And as to why the Torah focuses on the leaving of Egypt over the cessation of work, the answer is that the work ended only because the Egyptians no longer had the capacity to enforce the rules. The Jews were not truly free until they left Egypt completely, and the Egyptian people were destroyed. [1]: https://www.sefaria.org/Mishnah_Rosh_Hashanah.1.1?lang=bi&with=all&lang2=en

  • How does this answer the question?
    – Double AA
    Commented Mar 30, 2021 at 20:37
  • It's also in the beginning of rosh hashanah.. Commented Apr 5, 2021 at 7:35

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